Antinomianism: The Soft Heresy

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by PuritanCovenanter, Jan 28, 2013.

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  1. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I thought this was an honest look at a major problem in our Country and Church. I also noted that there were problems with others in the past concerning civil antinomianism. The sources might be questionable but the facts are, we are in trouble. I believe antinomianism is a bigger problem than most are willing to accept.

    This isn't necessarily about being a Theocracy or the topic of Theonomy nor is it about politics even though those are issues. I want to keep this topic on why the Church is losing its balance and why the Civil is doing the same thing. Some would accuse me of being a Transformationalist. As I understand the term, I am not a transformationalist being someone who is looking for the eschatological end of His Kingdom here on earth. But I do believe that the Gospel does transform Society as it should. That is if the Law of God is not dichotomized nor divorced from the Gospel. Many today seem to want to do that. Why is God's Law being opposed and what can we do about it?

    God's law is being opposed by the Church and the Civil realm. I understand why it might be done by the civil realm but..... by the Church? The Church is to loudly proclaim the Gospel and Kingdom of God. We are to proclaim what Acts 17 and Phil 2 say about every man everywhere.

    Act 17:30    And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
    Act 17:31    Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

    Php 2:6    Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    Php 2:7    But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    Php 2:8    And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
    Php 2:9    Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
    Php 2:10    That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
    Php 2:11    And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  2. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    I find that many with the church (regardless of one's view of the magistrate/politics & eschatology) tend to swing like a pendulum between legalism & antinomianism. I, myself, don't see opposing the law near as much as blurring law with gospel. But, the tendency is there nonetheless; it is almost as if the default mode in Christendom is saved by grace, stay in by works (or cooperation with grace).
    I thank you for sharing these links. Interesting stuff!
  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    One of two reasons for that might be that the justification / sanctification issues are confused. The distinctions are being confused or dichotomized and or divorced from the gospel. The second reason is that I also believe that most of the modern day theologians have a deficient view of grace and think of it only as some static attribute of unmerited favor just accepting sinful beings.
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    How are we defining heresy here?

    I thought heretics all went to hell.

    Are we saying that antinomianism is damning?
  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    That is an interesting question Pergy..... Might be.

    Mat 5:18    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Mat 5:19    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Rom 16:17    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    Rom 16:18    For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
    Rom 16:19    For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
    Rom 16:20    And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    But those verses seem to be about disobedience. Are you saying disobedience = antinomianism?

    I ask because I seem to remember, in the past, that you've defined antinomianism as not necessarily the same as disobedience but rather as theological error in how we understand the law and sanctification (and you've rather insisted that the rest of us use only your definition). Some of us have pointed out that guys with differing ideas about sanctification are still very committed to growth in holiness and to keeping the law. But, I thought, you'd replied that they're still antinomian because of theological error in how they think about it. I might be remembering wrongly or just failed to understand you, but that's what I thought.

    So I'm inquiring. Kindly. Really... kindly and not meaning to accuse.
  7. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Well our Puritan forefathers often referred to Arminianism as heresy. We are far less willing to press that button in our age.
  8. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Jack, I don't know how to answer this. Maybe you shouldn't sound so accusatory if you kindly... I mean really kindly..... and not wanting to accuse....but kindly first reference what I was saying and why I was saying it without making me sound like I made all of you use only my definition...... That has some accusatory tone to it. Don't you think? If you aren't sure then maybe you should back up and not sound accusatory. LOL. BTW, I have been wrong before and I am willing to admit it. I am not beyond correction.

    Read the passages again. Do you see anything about the law and teaching against the law in them? If you read a bit slower I bet you can. And you will have to remind me of the post and the context. Context is everything. I am not sure what you are talking about.
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I went back and found a couple. The sort of interactions I had in mind were those from this thread or this one.

    In those threads, I and others used the word "antinomian" pretty much the way Lloyd-Jones did in his famous writing on Roman 6, calling it the idea "that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like." I realize that's not the only way to define "antinomian," but it is the way many people today use the word. In fact, I think this is such a common usage today that if we're going to use the word to mean something else, to communicate clearly we ought to define that different way we're using it.

    In those threads you used "antinomian" to accuse people who don't fit the Lloyd-Jones meaning—people who believe obeying the law does matter; it matters very much. Some of us didn't think "antinomian" was the best word to use, but you kept using it. Now you've upped the ante by also calling it a "heresy."

    If we're going by the Lloyd-Jones usage of "antinomian," I think I might agree that it's heresy. But your usage of "antinomian" seems, from past threads, to include some pastors who do teach that we must strive to obey God's law, but who tend to take a pastoral approach that starts with comforting guilt-laden believers by affirming their justification and adoption in Christ. We can argue over the wisdom of that approach, but I wouldn't call it a "heresy."

    Then... you responded to Perg with an explanation that, I thought, maybe used the Lloyd-Jones definition of "antinomian" after all. That's what I was asking about.

    As for insisting that the Lloyd-Jones usage is wrong to use, I know I've been scolded along those lines and told not to use the word that way by someone on this board... but it might not have been you. If it doesn't sound to you like something you'd say, then I'm sure it wasn't you. And in that case, I was wrong to jump the gun and assume it'd come from you based merely on a fuzzy memory. My apologies.
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, explain to me how I was using it differently? Isn't teaching something also doing something? I think I did communicate what I meant by antinomian as I referenced other works and historical data as did a few other people also. I referenced it to cheap grace and asked you what Grace was. We have gone around this table before. Cheap grace is a teaching. It leads to excusing sin. It doesn't necessarily say it is okay to sin but it does excuse sin in the long run as we have seen in many Baptist Circles. There is a difference between the doctrines Eternal Security and Perseverance of the Saints. Do we agree on that?

    First off when did I up the ante? Where did I call it heresy? The blog article called it "soft heresy". That seems to indicate that their might be a level of what is being said here. I do tend to agree with the sentiments of the blog article. I admit that. The teaching that this blog article is discussing was considered heresy in the early Church as it was attached to what John was writing about in his first epistle as I understand it. I could be wrong. But I don't think I am.

    If you are referring to the thread about Steve Brown and Pastor T.? The context is important as it is in the other thread you are mentioning. I personally thought you kept evading my questions and misquoting things that I was saying. Kind of like you are doing here in this thread. Where did I say someone had to only define antinomianism as I do? I was being accused of using it improperly and I tried to show a broader historical understanding. I was using the term with some historical understanding as I am trying to do once again. I was trying to use the word contextually and in line with the situation. The word was being removed from context and rendered incorrect because of a truncated understanding of the word. A lot of people want to view it only in reference to cheap grace now days but it does involve more than that. I do admit that that situation does fit the scenarios if I remember the discussions above. And I am not sure I would call what those guys are doing heresy. Maybe it is. As I noted above, The blog calls what is going on in America "soft heresy" and gives historical reason for it as I understand the blog. The term civil antinomianism might be a recent invention. I found it to be a truth. You can google it and find a writing using that phrase. I guess we will have to look at how the author of the article meant the term soft heresy to fully understand what he was saying. He did place some historical context on the situation by attributing the early Church and Gnostics with the charge of antinomians. As I noted I believe that is what 1John was written about.

    I am still not sure about how to address you. As usual, I ask for you to define something or look at something and I am not getting a response to that specific thing. We keep doing that. That is why I keep thinking there is obfuscation during some of our discussions. I am looking for a place of commitment concerning your accusations. You mentioned that the passages were about obedience. I asked you to look deeper. Yes, disobedience is involved with the passage but you still haven't answered my question.

    I don't reference Lloyd-Jones much. I know a lot of people love him. I would personally rather read others. I don't recall ever challenging anyone about Lloyd-Jones as I am not that well acquainted with him. I have no problem with the reference.

    Please stop jumping the gun with me and misquoting me. It is a major distraction on these threads and ends up being more confusion. If you want me to clarify that is okay. Just use the quote function. That way I don't have ill motive or misunderstanding to deal with. Thanks for apologizing.

    I asked you a question. I asked you to look more deeper at the passages. They aren't just about disobedience. I didn't want to address you without you seeing that.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  11. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I am not sure I agree with the given definition:

    1. Theology; The doctrine or belief that the Gospel frees Christians from required obedience to any law, whether scriptural, civil, or moral, and that salvation is attained solely through faith and the gift of divine grace.

    The way it is phrased it sounds like 'required' is referring to 'salvation'. If that is the case, then this is not Antinomianism.
  12. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Does the author the article disagree with this part as well, because that would truly be heresy.
  13. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, I agree that seems messed up. It negates the Sola's we love and know. That is referenced from the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    The other definitions are much more sound. They are farther down the page. Most of those sights are conglomerations. At the same time I would add that salvation isn't just about justification but also about sanctification and that we need salvation from sin daily. That is why St. Paul wrote Philippians 2:12,13.

    Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    the belief that Christians are freed from the moral law by the virtue of God’s grace. — antinomian, n., adj.
    the theological doctrine maintaining that Christians are freed from both moral and civil law by God’s gift of grace. — antinomian, antinomist, n.

  14. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    There were some things in the blog that I questioned and actually thought this guy might be Roman. I don't know. When I think of antinomian I also think of Tetzel. LOL. When in the coffer.... A soul from.... or some old practices of indulgences were overtly antinomian also as though the gift of God and pardon could be purchased. That was what Luther had to deal with. And I'm grateful he did.
  15. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I guess I assumed you agreed with that assessment because you posted a link to the article, said nice things in agreement, and restated that title when you titled the thread. But I do see now that there are things in the article you question. That helps. In the future, I'll try to avoid attributing to you words you express fondness for but didn't actually write yourself.

    As for the verses you cited, if you mean to say that you chose them to point out that the law should be taught, then that's helpful. It helps me understand what your purpose was in citing them. That's all I wanted to know.

    I still don't know what you typically mean when you say "antinomian" or why you used that label about some people I don't think it fits at all, but that's a discussion I think needs to be dropped from this thread. I need to back away in the interest of charity. Again, so sorry if I assumed you take positions you actually don't without direct quotes from you to point to.
  16. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Jack, I also want you to answer my questions if you expect me to answer yours. It is called common courtesy. Quit obfuscating. Either that or I will just ignore you as you ignore me. Thanks.
  17. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Gentlemen, maybe you should talk more offline and spare everyone else this dance? A thought? Thread closed.
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